The Difference Between Emergency Care and Urgent Care

The Difference Between Emergency Care and Urgent Care

If you’re in the middle of an emergency and need immediate medical care, you’ll want to head to the nearest emergency room (ER). ERs provide advanced life support and trauma care 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If your symptoms aren’t life-threatening, then urgent care might be the right choice for you. Urgent care facilities offer non-emergency care that can be done in the same day as your visit, so you don’t have to wait to get treated if your problem can be treated without an overnight stay at the hospital or surgery requiring stitches or staples.

What is Urgent Care?

Often referred to as a walk-in clinic, urgent care is a medical facility designed to treat patients who have non-life threatening ailments. If you have a medical condition that needs immediate attention but isn’t serious enough for an emergency room visit, your next best option is often an urgent care center. As its name suggests, urgent care centers provide patient services that are more urgently needed than those offered at a standard doctor’s office.

What is Emergency Room (ER)?

Emergency Room is a place where people can go for immediate medical care for a serious injury or illness. It’s a hospital’s outpatient department, but unlike urgent care facilities, emergency rooms will treat patients regardless of their ability to pay. A doctor is always on call, and it’s generally open 24 hours per day.

Is there any difference between them?

Both urgent care facilities and emergency rooms handle serious medical issues—but only ERs are required to treat patients 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. So what are urgent-care centers for? They provide treatment for minor emergencies, when your family doctor’s office is closed. Keep in mind that not all urgent-care facilities are open after hours, so always call before you head over if you think you need immediate attention.

When should I go to Emergency Room (ER) and when should I visit the urgent care center?

The ER is for severe, acute health problems. Examples are when you’re having a heart attack or when you’ve suffered serious injury in an accident. Urgent care centers are for people who need medical attention but not an immediate emergency room visit. Examples are sprains, cuts that need stitches, or when you think your child has a high fever that isn’t improving.